Pedal power has put Hawke's Bay on the national map once more after the province collected two gongs at the Cycling New Zealand annual awards ceremony in Christchurch last weekend.
The HB Ramblers Cycling Club claimed the 2017 Club of the Year title at the Commodore Hotel last Saturday night and the province picked up the 2017 Event of the Year bragging rights for a collaborative effort in hosting the BDO Elite & U23 Road National Championship in Napier in January.
Elite national race manager Ivan Aplin thanked Ramblers club, which won the award in 2009, for making it easy for him to run the operations aspect of the event while Napier City Council were contracted to handle the marketing side.
"I have to deal with the logistics of working with managing all the volunteers," Aplin said, adding Rotary club and other groups also add impetus to the cause.
About 140 volunteers rolled up their sleeves over three days with a sizeable majority of them coming through the club.
"It's quite handy because in two to three weeks time it's National Volunteer Week [June 17-23]."
Aplin said hosting the nationals for the past three years was always going to be a success in the Bay but incorporating the city confines had boosted its status.
"You know they love it just being in the public. When we hosted it in 2009 it was run out at Puketapu on an empty circuit where you don't get that many people.
"You now get many non-cyclists coming out to watch it so they [the riders] love people out there cheering them on in town where most of it is in either closed roads or on one-lane closures so it's relatively safe."
He felt the interesting landscape and "party on the hill" at the botanical gardens all added value to the spirit of the event which created a lively festive atmosphere, not just for hardcore cycling fanatics but the public at the peak of summer.
"Some of the locals lined up outside their streets and others stood on their decks to watch the riders go past."
Aplin said the nationals wouldn't be possible without the support of the police who come under district commander Tania Kura.
"We also needed the council behind it to make it work because closing the streets in January doesn't come easy so we have a great Napier City Council team."
He said the logistical challenge of bringing the race into the parameters of the city could not be underestimated. It was a credit to Napier mayor Bill Dalton and council CEO Wayne Jack.
Ramblers chairman Don Kennedy said the club was thrilled to have claimed an award it had won almost a decade ago.
"It is a reflection of the hard work of the committee and its members and a positive result given the club has gone through a difficult period to make sure it complies with ever increasing health and safety requirements imposed by the local body authorities, based on their interpretation of the law, to enable us to continue to be the only club in New Zealand that holds a race every week."
Kennedy thanked Supervision Sports for professionally running its Thursday and Saturday races.
"We are sure our award is in part a reward for that collaborative effort," he said.